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9/6/22 A Campaign Update ...

Its been a minute!

These last two weeks have felt pivotal for my campaign for the SD State House. Events have come together that have really opened my eyes to how big and important an endeavor this is.

Sisters United (event hosts) and the candidates who attended! *Left to Right* Jamie Smith, Vince Vidal, Darla Drew, Anna Fleming, Mckenzie Merchant, Christine Stephenson, Nicole Heenan, Collin Duprel

It started with the Take Back Women's Equality Day march at Wilson Park on August 26th. Well, it really started back when Roe was overturned earlier this summer. The people of South Dakota do not support a complete ban on abortion in this state, and yet our legislators and current governor are talking about going further than banning abortions - they would like to prosecute women who cross state lines to get a legal abortion, and ban Plan B contraceptive. This is an extremist stance, and it felt good to rally against it.

The next day I heard firsthand about the violence in north Rapid City. (You can read about my experience here.) I believe the increase in violence is attributable at least in part to our state government defunding education and failing to address our lack of addiction treatment centers in western South Dakota over the last two decades. Going back farther, I believe we have to address the historical trauma of broken treaties, boarding schools and the forced relocation of Rapid City natives to north Rapid. I don't know what the solutions are, but I know the problem isn't going to go away if we ignore it. And we haven't heard a word from our governor on how to address this tragedy.

And then school started, and I had the great fortune of meeting my seventh grader's teachers. I was worried that the school would be short staffed ... turns out, I should have worried about whether the school would be able to manage this heat wave. Both issues - attracting and retaining teachers, and preparing school buildings for hotter and more prolonged heat waves - need to be addressed by our state leaders ASAP. (In case you missed it, you can read my general thoughts about the state of public education here

In short, everything feels political, and the silence of our state leaders speaks volumes.

I've always thought of myself as a moderate. I still do, but recent events have made me a moderate on a mission. Our current state leaders are acting like extremists, and we need a movement to reinstate responsible leadership in South Dakota.

Will you join me?

People frequently ask how they can help the campaign. My most fervent request is that people start to make some noise! We need to talk about the issues that really matter to our community. We need to be optimistic and excited that real change could happen on November 8th.

Will you please:

1) Like and follow my Facebook page, and that of Jamie Smith for Governor?

2) Write a letter to the editor advocating for candidates who will take their leadership roles seriously?

3) Attend candidate forums (like the Elevate forum on Oct. 5 from 5-7 at Western Dakota Tech) and ask all candidates pointed questions about the real issues affecting you and your neighbors?

Sorry for the long message!I had a lot to get off my chest today.

To those of you who have donated to this campaign, I offer my most sincere gratitude. I have fallen behind in writing thank you notes, but know that nothing happens in a campaign without your donations.

My family had the great fortune to eat a wonderful meal while watching this endless sunset at the Bear Butte Gardens last week. Ahhhh... aren't we lucky to live in western South Dakota?

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